Congressional Republicans have joined the legal battle over President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration, which he announced late last year.
Currently, 26 states have challenged the president’s executive order, which temporarily stops deportations and grants work permits to specific groups of immigrants living in the country illegally.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, and Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, the House Judiciary Committee Chairman, filed an amicus brief with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to counter the executive actions.
“Congress has created a comprehensive immigration scheme — which expresses its desired policy as to classes of immigrants — but the class identified by the (Homeland Security Department) directive for categorical relief is unsupported by this scheme,” the lawmakers wrote in their brief. “Instead of setting enforcement policies, it created a class-based program that establishes eligibility requirements that, if met, grant unlawful immigrants a renewable lawful presence in the United States and substantive benefits.”
So far, 113 congressional Republicans have endorsed the brief, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, The Hill reported.
In a statement released on May 11, Cruz said, “The president has unlawfully granted amnesty to millions who came here illegally.”
In response to the lawmakers’ actions, the White House released a statement highlighting the hundreds of voices, including states, Democratic lawmakers, and businesses, who have filed their own legal briefs in support of Obama's executive order, The Hill reports.
“Though these individuals and groups come from different backgrounds and perspectives," the statement read, "they’re all in agreement that (the) president’s actions are good for public safety and good for the economy.”
The court case centers on Obama’s two previous executive actions, which have granted rights to nearly 4 millions immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.
The first, titled the Deferred Action for Parent Accountability program, halts deportations and gives work permits to the parents or guardians of American citizens and those who are legal residents. The second, called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, is the initial concept of DAPA and would assist millions of immigrant children who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents.
Previously, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas agreed with the states by allowing the case to continue and blocking the programs the president tried to put in place without the approval of Congress.
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